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Byte Back’s Online Newsletter | August 2013 Table of Contents
DC City Councilmembers Speak to Byte Back Graduates
By: Neil Rickard and Jessica Bates
Councilmembers Speak Though Byte Back’s August graduation signaled the end of the summer term, it to Byte Back Graduates marked the beginning of new opportuniSuccess Story: Ezequiel ties for many of our graduates. It also featured many prestigious guests, inde la Guardia cluding Councilmembers Muriel Bowser and Tommy Wells as well as representSome Words from Our atives from the Office of the Chief TechStudents nology Officer, The Morris & GwendoStudent Profile: Kenneth lyn Cafritz Foundation, and StreetWise Partners. Councilmember Muriel Bowser addresses the crowd. Gross The graduation featured this year’s Volunteer of the Month: Golden Mouse Awards, which recognize the contributions of this year’s exceptional students, volunteers, and partners. We at Byte Back were lucky to work Michael Johnson with many amazing people this year, and it was a challenge to pick this year’s Five Questions with an winners. The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation won our Foundation Partner Instructor: Faith Nwaoha of the Year award, particularly for their support for our newest program, First Time Technology. The Office of the Chief Technology Officer was awarded the Byte Back’s New Board Golden Mouse for Government Partner of the Year for saving our spring term, and Accenture was awarded Corporate Partner of the Year for their consistent Members support throughout the year on volunteer projects and tutoring. StreetWise PartUpcoming Events ners won our Nonprofit Partner of the Year award for consistently supporting our students, championing their successes, Volunteer Opportunities and inviting Byte Back to partner with them at volunteer events. Simon Yeo won Volunteer of the Year for his amazing work as a Byte Back intern last winter. The Student of the Year award went to Rahel Yacob for successfully completing six classes this year alone. Ms. Yacob is currently excelling in her seventh class -- our A+ Certification Training Program. This was also the last graduation for most of this year’s AmeriCorps volunteers, many of whom served as instructors to the graduates. Director of Volunteer Services Ashley Luttmer spoke about their accomplishments throughout the year. Sharon Lee and Deborah Wright,
Councilmember Tommy Wells congratulates the recent graduates. Continued www.byteback.org | 202.529.3395
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participants in the Enterprise D.C. program showcased their businesses in presentations they developed during their classes at Byte Back. The featured speakers at the event were Councilmembers Muriel Bowser and Tommy Wells. Councilmember Bowser congratulated the crowd on their accomplishments, and spoke about the important role that longtime D.C. residents are playing in the city’s economic growth. Byte Back offers D.C. residents the training they need to invest in their futures and the future of their city. Councilmember Wells spoke about the impact that new technology is having on today’s economy, noting that “you can’t get away from computers.” He closed by applauding the audience for refusing to be left behind in a new economy.
Student of the Year Rahel Yacob receives her Golden Mouse Award.
Speaker Kenneth Gross, a graduate of Byte Back’s A+ Certification course, gave his own perspective on the city’s economic situation [read more about Kenneth on page #]. He described his efforts to develop himself at Byte Back after struggling through the difficulties of a career change. Kenneth told the audience about how critical the support of his classmates have been in his success. He touted the benefits of having interned at the new First Time Technology location and described the “new doors of opportunity” opening before him. As the ceremony came to a close, Kelley Ellsworth took the stage. She encouraged the crowd to take more classes, stressing that learning is “a lifelong thing” and that the most important lesson that we at Byte Back can teach each other is that it’s never too late too learn. The Byte Back graduation celebrated the end of summer classes, but it also celebrated the beginning of a new chapter of learning for all the students there. Congratulations to our summer graduates!
Byte Back’s 2013 graduates www.byteback.org | 202.529.3395
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Success Story: Ezequiel de la Guardia
By: Lorena Holguin and Jessica Bates Ezequiel de la Guardia believes it was fate that brought him to Byte Back in 2011. He was walking down a street in his neighborhood and came across a Byte Back flyer that had fallen onto the sidewalk. He picked it up and realized that it was exactly what he had been looking for. Though he’d always wanted to learn more about computers, he had always found language to be too much of a barrier. Byte Back’s Spanish-language classes were a perfect match. Mr. de la Guardia enrolled in our PC for Beginners course that summer. He initially found computers confusing and overwhelming. Soon after enrolling at Byte Back, he got a job with Neighbor’s Consejo, which kept him too busy to Ezequiel de la Guardia continue with his classes. However, he never forgot his experience at Byte Back and he knew he needed to go back and finish his course. He re-enrolled at Byte Back in the fall of 2012. This time, he was ready. His teacher Lisvette was patient and respectful, and gave him the time he needed to become comfortable with the computer. He soon passed PC for Beginners 1 and 2 and then moved on to Office Track. According to him there are two main factors that made him successful: his desire to learn and his relationship with his teachers. He was inspired by his teachers’ commitment to their students Because of the new computer skills, Neighbor’s Consejo has given him more responsibilities and work. Mr. de la Guardia also feels more respected by his friends and co -workers, and he’s constantly referring them to Byte Back. At our August graduation, Mr. de la Guardia gave a presentation on his native country of Peru with the assistance of a translator. The dynamic, informative, and often funny presentation was a highlight of the graduation. But he hasn’t finished learning -- his new goal is to improve his English so he can take more classes. Mr. de la Guardia wants his daughters, grandchildren, and everyone to know that it’s never too late to learn and that Byte Back is a great place to start. Spanish Version By: Lorena Holguin Ezequiel de la Guardia empezó tomando clases en Byte Back en el 2011. “Fue una gran coincidencia que me entere de este programa. Estaba caminando en la calle cuando vi en el suelo un panfleto de Byte Back, fue como caído del cielo. Era justo lo que yo necesitaba, pero porque no se mucho ingles nunca pude encontrar la oportunidad de aprender.” Ezequiel tomó la clase más básica de Byte Back, PC para Principiantes en español en el verano del 2011. Al principio me sentí perdido y confundido porque esa fue la primera vez que tuve contacto con una computadora. “Habian estudiantes en la clase que ya sabían que es lo que tenían que hacer pero yo nunca había trabajado con una computadora, no solo eso, tambien tuve que volver a aprender cómo se aprende.”
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Después de ese primer contacto con Byte Back, Ezequiel empezó a trabajar con el Neighbor’s Consejo, a pesar de todo, él sabía que apenas había visto la superficie de esta nueva etapa de aprendizaje en su vida. De modo que en el otoño del 2012 se volvió a inscribir a la clase para principiantes en Español. Esta segunda sesión con Byte Back fue donde él pudo aprender más: “Recuerdo mi primer día con las señorita Lisvette, recuerdo que ella tuvo paciencia y respeto para la clases. Esa fue la primera vez que pude aprender por mí mismo una buena forma de aprender las cosas.” Ezequiel continuó tomando clases con Byte Back hasta llegar a la clase de trayectoria Profesional, “en esta clase las cosas que aprendimos eran mucho más serias, asi que decidi volver a tomar esa clase para poder reafirmar todo lo que aprendí” Así que con una gran determinación de aprender todo lo que Byte Back tenía que enseñar Ezequiel retomó la clase de Trayectoria Profesional. Según él hay dos factores básicos que hicieron esta clase la más transformativa: el deseo de uno de seguir aprendiendo y la química que ocurre en la clase, entre maestros y estudiantes. “La calidad del trabajo que Byte Back da a la comunidad y los maestros a sus estudiantes se han vuelto una fuente de inspiración para mí. La segunda vez que tome la clase de Trayectoria Profesional realmente me mostró que la dedicación de Byte Back es universal.” Gracias a las destrezas que Ezequiel obtuvo en Byte Back, Neighbor’s Consejo (su trabajo) le da más responsabilidades y trabajo. “También siento que se me respeta más como persona. Mis jefes me dan más respeto. Cada vez que yo aprendía algo nuevo en Byte Back, más gente quería saber de este programa.” Así que mientras se prepara para dar su discurso en nuestra ceremonia de graduación de verano del 2013 de Byte Back, Ezequiel se mantiene muy agradecido hacia la organización. “ No tengo palabras para agradecerles todo el apoyo que me han dado, prometo aprender Inglés para poder tomar más clases con ustedes.” Ezequiel quisiera que sus hijas, nietos y miembros de la comunidad sepan que la educación siempre puede continuar y que Byte Back es un gran lugar para empezar de nuevo. “Si pudiera inspirar un estudiante (futuro o actual) como asistente al maestro o dar pláticas acerca de Byte Back y lograr que tomen una clase, se que los estare ayudando a entrar a una etapa de gran regocijo en sus vidas.
Some Words from Our Students
At the end of class, each student fills out a survey. Below are some responses from students who participated in our spring classes.
“Byte Back is AWESOME!!” “I love the energy at Byte Back and the teachers. My teachers did not take ‘no’ for an answer and made me understand everything that I was doing.” “That computer is a godsend. Awesome, thank you!” “I hope they never stop this program because they are enabling people. If you're not computer savvy now you're not going to get a job sweeping the floor! I think it's a great tool for anybody, old or
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young.” “Byte Back is the best program I have learned a lot from Byte Back. After Byte Back, my son was diagnosed with blood cancer. But with him being sick, Byte Back helped me to keep pushing. Before I went to Byte Back and finished two classes, I didn't have my high school diploma. Now in June the 18th of 2013, I have completed and received my high school diploma. So thank you, Byte Back.” “OMG I loved Andrew, I wish I could get him again. So patient, actually taking time with each and every one of us to sit with us to make sure we understood.” “I just want to say thank you. I'm overwhelmed that you guys are able to offer free classes. You guys open the door for us to catch up with the world. Keep it up.” “You have some of the best teachers there who are willing to help students learn how to operate computers, you have a beautiful picnic every year with plenty of food and plenty of things to do such as taking classes, and things for kids to do. We can't ask for more. We appreciate the teachers the most, because they really make sure that you got it. I appreciate that and the time and attention that they take to find out what are people thinking.” “Byte Back has really been a blessing to me it has raised my confidence in the technology world, and I am able to help others because of Byte Back.” “You are doing a great job providing a much needed service.” “I would like to say a big THANK YOU to all for the job that are being done to help us to pursue our dreams. I will be forever grateful. I have already pledge in my heart to support Byte Back financially whenever I am able to.”
Student Spotlight: Kenneth Gross
By: Jessica Bates People come to Byte Back for different reasons, but every student wants to improve their circumstances. When Kenneth Gross arrived at Byte Back, he was already employed as an administrative assistant for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Though he worked in the IT department, he didn’t have the certifications he needed to advance to a more specialized position. Mr. Gross had tried A+ certification training programs in the past, but he never felt motivated or prepared enough to take the A+ exam. He was referred to Byte Back by another nonprofit, and after learning more about the program from Director of Certification Carine Umuzayire and Registrar Francisco Vasquez, he signed up for our A+ Certification Training Program.
Though many of our students qualify for free or low -cost classes, Mr. Gross invested his own money towards the Byte Back tuition. “The thing I got at Byte Back that other programs were not able to give me was a small classroom setting where everyone is like a family and where I was able to get direct attention,” he said.
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After completing the program, he felt so prepared to take the exam that he decided to take it a few weeks early. He became certified on June 28 and he was even a featured speaker at Byte Back’s July graduation. Mr. Gross is already reaping the benefits of his new credentials. “After passing the certification test, I received an email from my supervisor saying that I would immediately be put to train with the IT employees. I am very excited to soon be applying for an IT specialist position,” Mr. Gross said. Soon, he’ll be doing the kind of work he’s been curious about for years. He’s even encouraging his son to take the A+ Certification Program. “Since taking my A+ class at Byte Back I started fixing computers for friends and family on the side,” Mr. Gross said. “Pretty soon I was getting requests from a lot more people from church and other places! I’m thinking after I retire from my government job that I will start a family computer repair business.” We hope to see Mr. Gross around Byte Back again soon!
Volunteer of the Month: Michael Johnson
By: Ashley Luttmer Michael Johnson has been an active participant in the Byte Back community since he first volunteered last spring. As the director of information systems at Industrial Bank, he had advanced IT skills, but Byte Back gave him the opportunity to teach. He taught an early morning workshop on phishing at Community Computer Day, which was highly informative and well-received by attendees. That afternoon, he sheltered his daughter from the rain with his umbrella as she painted childrens’ faces. In June, he taught the evening section of the Online Tools course for the Enterprise DC program. He has been a special guest speaker for the A+ Certification Program, Michael Johnson and he’s spent several class periods sharing his experience and career advice with the A+ students. Most recently, he tutored two students at the July session of the monthly Job Seekers Boot Camp. In addition to his willingness to teach students in a variety of settings, Michael’s kindness and suggestions for improving services in the future have been invaluable. We are so appreciative of all the effort Michael has put forth for Byte Back. He says, “The appreciation of the students has to be the most rewarding aspect of volunteering with Byte Back....that makes it all worthwhile.” Thank you for your hard work, Michael!
Five Questions with an Instructor: Faith Nwaoha
Interview by: Alaide Vilchis Ibarra Q; What has been your favorite moment as a Byte Back instructor? A: It was teaching the PC for Beginners for Seniors class. I loved watching them improve throughout the class. It ended right around Christmas and that was when we finished learning email attachments. All of my students were really excited because they could share family photos. Q: What is your favorite lesson or concept to teach, and why?
Faith Nwaoha Continued
A: I think my favorite lesson to teach was the eCommerce/Online Tools class section of shopping carts and payment mechanisms. People were very interested because most people shop online so they were curious to see what goes on behind the scenes. Q: What do you like best about living in the D.C. area? A: I liked the free stuff. Those museums are outrageously exciting! Q: What do you most hope to convey to the students you work with? A: I taught students in different age groups. What I wanted seniors to learn is the fact that you never stop learning. It may take a while longer to learn something but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn it. For younger students, I wanted to convey a sense of accountability and responsibility. Most of them eventually understood this and started self-studying to take tests they found challenging. Q: What is your favorite website? Why? A; My favorite website is www.cnn.com because it keeps me posted on what is going on around the world. I used it a lot in teaching PC for Beginners and eCommerce classes. Ingeborg Holt
Byte Back’s New Board Members
Ingeborg currently works at Booz Allen Hamilton as an associate supporting the healthcare market. Her professional background includes working as a consultant for Oracle, and earlier, as a software engineer for the National Institutes of Health and the Institute for Genomic Research. Ingeborg grew up outside of Philadelphia and holds a B.A. in Biology and an M.S. in Computer Science. Ingeborg is excited to contribute to Byte Back's mission and make a lasting difference in the lives and careers of D.C. area residents.
Edan Lichtenstein Edan comes to Byte Back after serving for the past four years as a board member for First Time Computers, the last two as the board vice president. As part of the FTC leadership, Edan used his background in national politics and technology to make an impactful and immediate difference at the local level. Edan began his work on bridging the digital divide when he was working as a legislative assistant for Congressman John Lewis while earning a computer science graduate degree at George Washington University. He is excited to continue this work with Byte Back and use technology to help more people in the city. Edan is now building a website development and content strategy consultancy shop – Ruckt - with an emphasis on creating an appealing and focused narrative that captures attention and leads to a desired action and a stronger brand. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University. William J. McBorrough IV William J. McBorrough IV is an information assurance and cyber security leader with an extensive background managing, designing, and implementing physical and information technology security solutions and programs. He also serves as member, technical advisor and board member to a number of organizations including security technical vendors, industry groups and nonprofits promoting STEM education and training. Mr. McBorrough is a firm believer in education as the ultimate key to success. He is on
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the faculty of various universities including University of Maryland University College and EC -Council University where he conducts research and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computing Engineering with a concentration in digital networks and a Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance from George Mason University. He also holds professional and security certifications including Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified in Risk Information System Control (CRISC), and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). Lawrence Mercker Lawrence Mercker is a native of Lafayette, Indiana. He holds a BFA Degree in Visual Communications, a master’s degree in education, and a master’s degree in political science. After serving for 30 years as an instructor pilot, evaluator pilot, director of safety, and assistant director of operations, he retired from the US Air Force in 2002 at the rank of Colonel. He then converted his pilot and management experience into a second career with US Airways Airline based at Reagan National Airport. In 2010, he retired from aviation and co-founded a consulting business, Strategic Executive Coaching, based in Atlanta GA. Since 2010, Lawrence has worked as a volunteer with nonprofits in DC and as a substitute teacher with the DC public school system. He sees this opportunity to serve on the Byte Back Board as a great way for successful professionals to help their community. Dorothy Weiss Dorothy is a seasoned nonprofit professional with expertise in philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, and public policy. Currently an independent consultant, she has served as an executive director, development director, and communications specialist at both the community and national levels. Among other positions, she led a regional association of grantmakers for ten years and directed fundraising and capacity building at two national policy organizations. Dorothy has a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard and a Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University. After years in the policy world, she is thrilled to be joining the board of a direct-service organization making a tangible difference in D.C. residents’ lives. Leslie Torbett Leslie Torbett is the director of recruiting at Acentia, which provides technology and management solutions to the federal government and commercial markets. She has a BA in business administration and management from Mary Washington College. As an experienced talent acquisition leader, Leslie brings a nuanced understanding of today’s job market to the Byte Back Board.
Tours of Byte Back — Would you like a guided tour of Byte Back? For more information and to arrange a tour, please contact Development Associate Cristina Moscoso at email@example.com or by calling (202) 529-3395.
"Volunteering is the most effective means to give back to your community and to continue to develop the human spirit." - Ted Frazier, Byte Back Instructor
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If you're interested in volunteering with Byte Back, please contact Ashley Luttmer, Byte Back’s director of volunteer services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 529-3395.
About Byte Back
Founded in 1997, Byte Back seeks to improve economic opportunity in the Washington, D.C. area by providing computer literacy and job training for disadvantaged communities. Byte Back offers courses ranging from basic computer literacy to Microsoft Office to internationally recognized computer certification preparation. Byte Back is licensed by the DC Educational Licensure Commission as a postsecondary educational institution.
www.byteback.org | 202.529.3395